Family Planning

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					                                       Family Planning

                                       The 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD)
                                       Programme of Action urged all governments to ‘‘strengthen their
                                       commitment towomen’s health’’ and ‘‘deal with the health impact of unsafe
                                       abortion as a major public health concern.’’ The conference participants
                                       pledged their commitment to reducing the need for abortion ‘‘through
                                       expanded and improved family planning services.’’

                                     The call to reduce abortion through family planning is based on the global
                                     experience acquired over the decades since modern hormonal contraceptives
                                     and IUDs became widely available. In 1966, the Chilean Government
                                     established family planning as an official component of the women’s health-
                                     care program, providing free contraceptive services to 85% of the population
                                     through the National Health Service. Several authors confirmed a direct
                                     correlation between improved access to contraceptives and the dramatic
                                     decrease in the number of women with abortion complications who were
                                     admitted to public hospitals; these data are illustrated in Figure 3. Similarly,
                                     in Brazil, the number of abortion complications dealt with by the national
health service dropped fromapproximately 345 000 in 1992 to 228 000 in 1998 after the rapid increase in the use of
modern contraceptives.

Experience from manycountries shows that when there is a rapid decrease in desired family size, contraceptive use
increases, but induced abortions may also increase if family planning access cannot satisfy the increased demand.
Only when the unmet need for contraception has been met does the number of induced abortions invariably decline.

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